contaminate

verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Definition of contaminate

transitive verb

1a : to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association Bacteria contaminated the wound.
b : to make inferior or impure by admixture iron contaminated with phosphorus
2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements water contaminated by sewage

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Other Words from contaminate

contaminative \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce contaminative (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce contaminator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contaminate

Synonyms

befoul, defile, foul, poison, pollute, taint

Antonyms

decontaminate, purify

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Choose the Right Synonym for contaminate

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source. water contaminated by industrial wastes taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination. tainted meat a politician's tainted reputation pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy. the polluted waters of the river defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration. defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo

Examples of contaminate in a Sentence

Be careful not to allow bacteria to contaminate the wound. Don't touch the microchip or the oil on your hands will contaminate it. Make sure the white paint is not contaminated by any of the other colors.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But the truth is that the US was bad at recycling, and kept getting worse: The bales being sent to China were badly contaminated. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "California could become the first state to ban single-use plastics," 12 Sep. 2019 In the East, septic systems can sometimes leak into creeks or water can become contaminated by bird droppings, said Mara Dias, water quality manager for the Surfrider Foundation. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "There's 'poop in the water' at America's dirtiest beaches. Is yours on the list?," 23 July 2019 Flint’s drinking water became contaminated after the city switched to using the Flint River as its water source from April 2014 to October 2015. Talal Ansari, WSJ, "Michigan Drops Charges in Flint Water Case as It Restarts Investigation," 13 June 2019 In both cases, regulators never confirmed how the water became contaminated. Candice Choi, The Seattle Times, "Emails show FDA worry after romaine outbreaks," 29 Mar. 2019 Heiken did not know what the contaminant might be or how the water could have become contaminated. Gretel Kauffman/ Times-news, idahostatesman, "1 dead, 8 sent to hospital from HazMat situation in Idaho town | Idaho Statesman," 24 May 2018 People usually catch it by ingesting food or water contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person. Patricia L. Foster, The Conversation, "A newly designed vaccine may help stamp out remaining polio cases worldwide," 13 Sep. 2019 Their homes had been flooded, power cut off, water contaminated. BostonGlobe.com, "‘‘At the last minute like this, it’s kind of disappointing,’’ Renard Oliver, who held his infant daughter, told Brian Entin, a reporter for Miami TV station WSVN. ‘‘It’s hurtful because I’m watching my daughter cry, but it is what it is.’’," 10 Sep. 2019 Several dogs have died in Oregon over the past decade after drinking water contaminated with the harmful toxins. oregonlive, "Dog’s sudden death after playing at Portland riverfront park prompts concerns about toxic algae," 9 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contaminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contaminate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contaminate

Middle English contaminaten, borrowed from Latin contāminātus, past participle of contāmināre "to defile, pollute," from con- con- + -tāmināre, verbal derivative of *tāmen "touching, contact," going back to *tāg-(s)men, from tag-, variant stem of tangere "to touch" + *-(s)men, noun suffix of result — more at tangent entry 2

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Statistics for contaminate

Last Updated

20 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for contaminate

The first known use of contaminate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for contaminate

contaminate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of contaminate

: to make (something) dangerous, dirty, or impure by adding something harmful or undesirable to it

contaminate

verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Kids Definition of contaminate

1 : to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association The wound was contaminated by bacteria.
2 : to make unfit for use by adding something harmful or unpleasant The water is contaminated with chemicals.

contaminate

transitive verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈtam-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Medical Definition of contaminate

1 : to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association bacteria contaminated the wound
2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements water contaminated by sewage

Other Words from contaminate

contaminative \ -​ˌnāt-​iv How to pronounce contaminative (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ -​ˌnāt-​ər How to pronounce contaminator (audio) \ noun

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